Female CEOs are competitively paid, but greatly outnumbered

Of the 340 companies included in the analysis, only 19 were run by women

The few women who are CEOs of the largest U.S. companies typically make more money than their male counterparts but aren’t close to the top of the leaderboard for pay packages.

The median pay package for female CEOs in the 2018 fiscal year was $12.7 million, compared with $11.2 million for men, according to data analyzed by Equilar for The Associated Press. That reflects a raise of $680,000 for the same group of female CEOs from a year before, versus a raise of $540,000 for the men. Median means half were larger, and half were smaller.

Still, of the 340 companies included in the analysis, only 19 were run by women. Plus, there is not a single woman on the overall list of the top 20 most highly paid CEOs. The top earner there — Discovery CEO David Zaslav — earned a pay package worth almost six times that of the most highly paid female CEO — Mary Barra of General Motors. She ranks 30th on the list overall.

READ MORE: Women have ‘legitimate claims’ for justice, equality: Pope

Barra tops the list of female CEOs with a pay package valued at nearly $21.9 million, unchanged from the prior year. Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson came in second with a compensation valued at $21.5 million, up 7% from the prior year. And General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic rounded out the top three with a compensation package worth $20.7 million.

The AP’s CEO compensation study, conducted by Equilar, includes pay data for 340 executives at S&P 500 companies who have served at least two full consecutive fiscal years at their respective companies and filed proxy statements during the traditional period of Jan. 1 to April 30.

While women enter U.S. companies at roughly the same rate as men, experts say their ranks grow thinner at each step up the corporate ladder. There are a number of reasons for this, including unconscious bias, lack of mentorship, people hiring in their own image and more. This leaves few women in the pipeline to take the top seat when the time comes.

Catalyst, a non-profit organization that focuses on women in business, said that only three times in history has a woman succeeded another woman as chief executive at a public traded company.

“The rarity of these women, they are so exceptional,” said Alison Cook, a professor of management at Utah State University who researches gender and diversity in the workplace. “Not that some of these men aren’t exceptional also … but these women have to be so incredible to have made it this far.”

READ MORE: France takes torch passed by Canada, will focus on gender equality at G7 summit

Comparing men’s pay to women’s as a group is a bit unfair, statistically speaking. The sample size is much smaller for women so any change among that group has an outsized impact.

Lorraine Hariton, CEO of Catalyst, said that while the numbers appear discouraging year over year, gains are being made in the long run.

Women are becoming slowly more prevalent in CEO roles and pay is gradually becoming more commensurate. For example, the recently released list of Fortune 500 companies includes more women than ever before, 33, but largely due to appointments made in the past 12 months, according to Fortune magazine. And women are also incrementally becoming more common on the boards of companies, which helps usher in more women to executive leadership.

“It’s a gradual trend in the right direction but much slower than what we would like to see.” Hariton said.

Hariton and Cook also both agree that the recent #metoo movement has helped raise awareness of the issue and brought more men into the conversation, in some cases spurring companies to look more closely and address their own practices.

Additionally, Hariton said research shows consumers increasingly expect companies and CEOs to act on environmental and social issues, including diversity.

“Companies need to address this not just because it is the right thing to do but to remain competitive,” Hariton said. “Consumers are demanding it.”

Sarah Skidmore Sell, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Murdochs: Fast Track to Hockey Stardom

Every Canadian hockey story, like that of the Murdochs of Cranbrook, seems to start in the backyard

Farm life: Planning and preserving, a time of transition

Over the coming weeks many plants will be pulled from my garden and replaced with cool weather crops

Crews, aircraft responding to wildfire eight kilometres west of Cranbrook

Crews and air support are responding to a wildfire eight kilometres west… Continue reading

Local shares his story of life and death on the St. Mary’s River

Aric Keane hopes sharing his story will show that even with experience, the river can be dangerous

Health care priorities debated following surprise funding announcement

Surprise provincial funding stirs debate on local health care priorities during regional meeting

STANDING TALL: For some, B.C.’s forest industry is the best office in the world

A look at the forest sector in B.C. – and those hoping for the best – amid mill curtailments

Russia approves vaccine, Putin hopes to begin mass production

Critic calls decision to proceed without thorough testing ‘dangerous and grossly immoral’

Man, 54, charged in connection with fatal attack of Red Deer doctor

Doctor was killed in his walk-in clinic on Monday

Doctor slain in Alberta medical clinic was devoted father, husband

Red Deer doctors on edge after attack on colleague who had two young daughters

Royal B.C. Museum wants B.C.’s COVID-19 nature observations

COVID-19 Collecting For Our Time: ongoing project cataloguing province’s pandemic experience

Feds offer ‘life preserver’ funds to BC Ferries as pandemic sinks revenue

For every dollar the province spends the federal government will match

Bad behaviour at B.C. restaurants ignites campaign calling for respect

“If you can’t follow the rules, then stay home,” says BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association

Over half of Americans oppose Trump tariff on Canadian aluminum: survey

The survey was conducted Aug. 7 to 9 among 1,513 Canadians and 1,003 Americans

Oh baby, what a birthday gift: $2.8M raised to help B.C. boy with rare disease

‘We are very thankful to everybody,’ Aryan Deol’s father says

Most Read